Visit Rome for the Festival of the Immaculate Conception

There’s no escaping the spiritual presence in Rome. With close to 1,000 churches in the city, not to mention being home to the leader of the Catholic church, Rome channels an undeniable undercurrent of solid beliefs and charming traditions that are widely followed and applied to this day. The Festival of the Immaculate Conception (Immacolata Concezione) is one of the most sacred celebrations in the month of December, falling on the 8th of the month every year. Originally it was a feast day, as declared by Vatican in 1708, but now it has taken on a slightly different form. As a celebration of the Virgin Mary who was granted a life without sin, it is celebrated with elaborate church masses led by the Pope at the Piazza Mignanelli, followed by street performances, fireworks, processions and cultural festivities. Although it equates to a public holiday, don’t worry if you’re a visitor to the city – by no means are these celebrations exclusive to the church or Roman people; everyone is encouraged to join in with the revellers through the ancient cobbled streets. Most shops stay open should you wish to buy a souvenir or duck into a café for refuge and refreshments but banks and post offices are closed for the day.

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